Last Friday we covered a story about 8,500 rural Americans who are being forced off of Verizon’s network because of their accrued roaming charges, despite being offered unlimited plans. In their initial statement, Verizon said these rural Americans were racking up more than they paid to Verizon by roaming on other networks. Verizon’s solution was to send these customers with more than 19,000 lines across 13 states a letter letting them know they must seek new wireless service by October 17 because Verizon is cutting them off.
The story didn’t end there, though. Earlier this week, Ars Technica contacted some of those affected by the cut-off to see how much data these people were using. Verizon claims that some were using more than a terabyte of data off-network, but those contacted revealed their data usage to be much tamer. One three-person family only used 6GB of data between them.
To make matters even worse for Verizon, it was discovered that first responders and volunteer firefighters were lumped in. Today, Verizon has issued a statement to announce a new change in policy. They say they’ve “become aware of a very small number of affected customers who may be using their personal phones in their roles as first responders and another small group who may not have another option for wireless service.”
For those people, Verizon has offered this solution:
- The disconnection date is being moved from October 17 to December 1 to give people more time to switch service providers.
- Verizon says if there is no alternative provider in your area, you can switch to the S (2GB), M (4GB), or L (8GB) plan.
There are a few questions that remain when considering these new details. Customers who opt to stay with Verizon because they don’t have the option for any other service were effectively sold a service that Verizon can’t deliver. In order to stay with the network, they’ll have to accept one of Verizon’s decidedly limited plans. Verizon says “supporting these roaming customers can often be economically challenging, especially supporting those on plans with unlimited data or other high data plans.” 🤔